An introduction to me.

I saw a writer Instagram meme on Facebook and decided to join in. I don’t use Instagram but I extracted the questions and have done my best to answer them.

Introduce yourself.
I’m Jay Mountney. I’m a retired teacher, mostly of English and English as a Second Language, but all sorts of other things, too, such as law, which was my initial qualification. I live with my husband in Cheshire, UK, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester, in a seventeenth century house that defies mobile phone providers and isn’t quite finished yet. I no longer have any pets but I sometimes look after our daughter’s dog and I frequently entertain a neighbour’s cat. Until recently I volunteered for Organisation for Transformative Works on the AO3 Policy and Abuse team and I love fanfiction (both reading and writing it). Now, I concentrate on my original writing, which is almost all fantasy with an m/m element but very little explicit sex. I self publish and do my own formatting and covers though I use beta readers and proof readers, of course. I’m very interested in politics and read widely about that and associated issues. (As you might gather from my other answers I’m socialist.)

Back to work.
Now that it’s January I ought to get on with writing but have been procrastinating by tidying up my files, which desperately needed attention. So much so that I couldn’t find my notes or the beginning of my WIP.

Writing resolutions.
I intend to write every afternoon but that will include long posts for my WordPress and Dreamwidth blogs (such as this one) and my occasional poems. I also do a monthly review post for books (including fanfic) I have read, and films/TV I have watched. I have nine self published books at the moment and I intend to increase that to eleven this year.

Who/what inspires you.
I’m inspired from time to time by various writers, including Facebook friends, who all seem to be more organised than I am. I’m also inspired by the fantasy ‘greats’ such as Tolkien, Tad Williams, etc. Since I enjoy reading crime and mystery stories I have tried to merge the genres in my elf detective series. Another source of inspiration is location. I love the UK countryside and my books are grounded in descriptions of real places, but either peopled by fae or transported to alien worlds.

Anticipated read of the year.
I keep hoping the final Game of Thrones novel will appear and I suppose that would be my anticipated read if it happened. I have a large number of books awaiting upload to my Kindle but in 2019 I shall also be re-reading some of my favourite authors in printed books that we saved from the fire that destroyed our house in Portugal (2017). There were boxes of books in the garage which escaped the fire, and I am gradually getting reacquainted with my comfort reading: Heyer, Pratchett, Lindsey Davis. Sadly, my Anne McCaffrey books and my Melissa Scott ones did not survive, having reached the bookcases in the house. Lord of the Rings never left UK.

Where do you write?
I usually write in our lounge, with my laptop on my knee (on a lap tray). I sit in a recliner, with a side-table supporting drinks and my mobile phone. Nobody can actually ring me on it (courtesy of our thick stone walls) but people who know me communicate via Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger. I can, however, write anywhere I can use a laptop. I can’t write more than a short email on a tablet or mobile with those virtual keyboards, and I can only scribble notes or short poems with a pen or pencil.

Favourite character.
My favourite character in my own books is Harlequin, the very modern fairy who lives on Alderley Edge in Cheshire. He sprang into my head fully developed and has insisted on acting as my muse ever since, regardless of what I’m writing.

My favourite fictional character written by someone else is harder to identify but I might go for Angua, the werewolf police officer in Pratchett’s Discworld. She satisfies my desire for a blend of fantasy and mystery or crime.

Teaser Tuesday.
I’m not sure what Teaser Tuesday refers to so will leave that out. (I strongly suspect it means snippets and I hate either choosing them from my own work or reading them from others.)

First line of WIP
(From Life on the Edge.) Peasblossom knew perfectly well that her brother had seen her at the pool, trying to scry her future lover. She knew, too, that he had seen the apparent emptiness of the reflection. 

Cover of WIP
It isn’t finished yet. I design and make my own covers and I know which photograph I’m going to use. Like the cover for the first book in the trilogy (Growing up Fae) it’s one of the photos I took on Alderley Edge but instead of a living tree, this one’s a fallen tree that looks like a cross between a bridge and a fantasy creature. I like playing with Photoshop and various online graphic manipulation programs.

Favourite Cover (not yours).
Heavens! What an ask! I really don’t think I have a favourite. However, I did a meme about special covers on Facebook and intend to copy it here.

Selfie Saturday.
If this means taking a selfie then count me out. I have a frozen eye which makes me look all kinds of ridiculous in still pictures though friends assure me they rarely notice in real life. I am also hopeless at taking photos with my smartphone which is a very recent acquisition.

Shelfie Sunday.

Favourite read of last year.
I think it has to be The Science of Discworld (all four volumes) by Pratchett, Cohen and Stewart. I loved all the scientific explanation and discussion, interspersed with chapters of a fantasy story.

Time out Tuesday (what you do to relax).
Apart from reading, photoshopping pictures, etc? (I play with icons, avatars, etc. as a kind of rest from writing, and much as other people play with e.g. knitting.)Well, writing helps me to relax and certainly beats housework, any day. I love nature, art and architecture and follow TV documentaries about these. I enjoy swimming but I’m not sure it counts as relaxation as I find it increasingly hard work. I also like cooking but that’s something I have to do anyway. I like doing paper craft – things like 3D découpage. I play the piano (I lost my keyboard and my guitar in the fire). I listen to music – anything from rock and roll to classics with some modern stuff in between.

Movie/TV Adaptation.
At present I’d say the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, but Game of Thrones might just beat them into second place once it’s finished.

Currently reading.
I’ve just started Machineries of Empire by Yoon Ha Lee (SF) and I’m re-reading Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman. I’m wandering through the latest copy of Searchlight magazine, too. I’ve just finished In Case of Emergency by Keira Andrews and a re-read of The Toll Gate by Georgette Heyer. I also have a history book in the bathroom which is going slowly – Justice in the Sarladais 1770-1790 by Steven G Reinhardt, which is an excellent prequel to the French revolution.

Line last you wrote.
Obviously the last line of the last paragraph above but maybe that isn’t what’s wanted… I can’t really take a line from my current WIP as all the sections were written months ago and just need putting into some kind of order, possibly with linking paragraphs. So it had better be the last line of my latest publication (The Lantern):
The group flew on, the beginnings of sunset behind them, until Rath called them all to turn.
“We want to be back before dark,” he said, and then led the way to Lonis, Fel beside him, as though he had always belonged there.

Fave classic.
Does Lord of the Rings count as a classic yet or are we talking nineteenth century and earlier? If so, I adore Trollope’s Ayalla’s Angel.

Feel good read.
Anything by Pratchett, Heyer, Lindsey Davis, the Pern books (prior to McCaffrey’s son’s takeover), Lord of the Rings. Anything by Charlie Cochrane, KJ Charles, Rhys Ford, Alex Beecroft or JL Merrow. Game of Thrones. Poetry anthologies.

Recommend one of yours.
If you want a heavy dose of m/m in your fantasy, Growing Up Fae. If you prefer to focus on the crime angle, The Scroll. Those are both first volumes in their respective series. If you want a stand-alone novella, The Lord of Shalott.

Fave series.
Game of Thrones/Discworld. I’d have to toss a coin.

Five fun facts about you.
1. I’m a vicar’s daughter from the wilds of Northumberland. I went to the boarding school that featured in Jane Eyre and am still in touch with many of my classmates and with a couple of my father’s parishioners.
2. When I’m not writing fantasy I write fanfiction in a variety of fandoms – currently Lewis, Pros, and SGA. I will read almost any fanfic provided it’s both literate and long. I admit to a slight preference for Harry Potter, Bandom, The Hobbit and SGA.
3. I spent most of my teaching career working in multicultural education and race relations and was also heavily involved in trade union affairs.
4. Despite being 74 I am a dedicated ‘remainer’ (passionate about the EU) and a socialist and I am very technically competent (more so than a lot of younger people) in terms of using my laptop, and the various programmes I need.
5. My favourite colours are turquoise and plum – but not for furnishings where I prefer neutrals that can be dressed up with cushions etc.

Audio Book rec
I don’t really like audio books. I used to listen to them every Friday night on my drive across the Pennines to help care for my mother, but other than in the car I can’t cope with them because I get distracted and lose my place too easily. Since I no longer make long car trips alone, I don’t listen to audio books! When I did, my all-time favourite was Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which seemed to gain an extra dimension when read aloud.

Feature Friday.

Fave secondary characters.
I feel like being sarcastic and saying any that don’t use ‘fave’ as an abbreviation but I’ll be sensible and say all the dwarves in The Hobbit. I’m also becoming more and more fond of Ariadne Sheridan in Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series; I loved Jonty’s parents and was devastated when the author killed them off.

Book that made you cry.
Most recently, Guernica by Dave Boling. It’s a novel about the bombing and the events surrounding it, with a focus on one (fictional) family.

Fave funny/humorous book.
Terry Pratchett’s Snuff. I love the way he tackled a really serious issue (racism) via humour.

Place you’d like to visit.
China’s great wall. We considered a trip but I’m not sure I could manage the amount of walking involved any more. (Helping to nurse my mother left me with back problems that limit my mobility.)

Current MC’s names.
I have two series in progress. The main characters in Living Fae are Harlequin and Yarrow. The main elf detectives in The Skilled Investigators are Genef and Rath (plus Scratch the dragon).

Words of Wisdom.
Goodness! I can quote various people but I have nothing unique to offer. I like a few sayings and ideas such as:
*Not all who wander are lost./ I know I’m in my own world. Don’t worry, they know me here./ Sorry I ignored you; I was writing fic in my head.
*I read therefore I am./ Reading can seriously damage your ignorance.
*Who does not hold within them vast worlds?/Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under their skin. The talent of a writer lies in giving them their separate names, identities and personalities and have them relate to other characters.
*Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
*There are three rules for writing a successful novel: the trouble is nobody knows what they are.
*Why I write. Because kidnapping people and forcing them to act to act out your interesting make-believe worlds is technically illegal.

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